Photographs of friends, family, and loved ones tend to be posed to include physical touch. Intimacy and closeness are symbolized by interlocked hands or warm embraces. What happens if you pose strangers the same way you pose people who are familiar with one another? Richard Renaldi has done just that in a series he calls Touching Strangers.
Since 2007 he has created over 150 images of two or more strangers using his 8×10 view camera. Watch how he successfully identifies and poses passersby together on the street:
If you didn’t know the story behind these images, you might not even give them a second glance. Renaldi has a gift for capturing a familiar intimacy in his photographs that make them beautifully ordinary. However, achieving his vision is incredibly difficult.
Renaldi likens his search for subjects to a hypnotist in search of people who might be susceptible to suggestion. He looks for people who seem open and who he can push to their limits of comfort with other strangers.
His subjects are often hesitant, but he is able to convince them to pose even when they feel vulnerable. The results are thought-provoking.
Many photographers set out to photograph strangers, but Renaldi adds an element of complexity by encouraging physical interaction among individuals who have never met. In this unique and challenging series, Renaldi closes the gap between strangers. His impromptu photo shoots are a gateway to the human connection–if only fleeting–that is usually lost to the anonymity of city life.
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